Singapore SME Grants in 2018 Highlights and Challenges!

Southeast Asia is still one of the world’s fastest growing regions, and the Singapore economy has continued to grow despite the anaemic global economic recovery. If SMEs succeed in adopting digital solutions and innovate, they will be well-placed to tap regional and global markets. They would also be building up their resilience against potential industry disruptions caused by accelerated automation, e-commerce and connectivity.

It is crucial for SMEs to thrive in an increasingly digital economy. The livelihood and well- being of Singaporeans hang in the balance, as SMEs are our top job providers. Indeed, buzzwords such as “transformation” and “disruption” are causing anxiety among some PMETs, who worry about the sustainability of the companies they work for, and see their once well-paying professional jobs disappearing. They also discern that the landscape for new employment opportunities is rapidly being reshaped by technological advancement.

With the current slowing economy, Singapore SMEs are facing many challenges like: shortage of talent manpower, increasing overhead costs, online retail e-commerce and outflow of talents and manufacturing to other Asian countries.

Thankfully, Singapore Government has many SME grants and schemes to help business scale up, increase productivity, subsidised workers’ salaries and training programmes, and supporting SME to expand to overseas markets. SME grant is a financial amount awarded to or claimable by an institution or businesses based on different grant requirements by Government agencies, which need not be paid back like loans (but taxable).

To help SMEs build strong digital capabilities and deploy digital technologies, the Government announced the S$80 million SMEs Go Digital Programme during the Budget 2017 which encourage local SME businesses to leverage on digital technology, embrace innovation, and scale up. Going digital to increase day-to-day business productivity is the way to go.

2 key highlights of Budget 2017 that are especially relevant to SMEs and startups for Hiring Grants and SME Go Digital:

1. ‘Adapt and Grow’ – This initiative was launched 2 years ago to help workers looking to take on new jobs. Wage and training support provided under the Career Support Programme, the Professional Conversion Programme and the Work Trial Programme will be enhanced. An “Attach and Train” initiative will also be introduced to secure attachments, rather than full-time positions, for workers to train themselves for jobs of the future.

2. SMEs Go Digital Programme will help SMEs to build digital capabilities. SMEs will get technology advice at each stage of their growth through the sectoral Industry Digital Plans. Sectors where digital technology can significantly improve productivity such as retail and food services will start first. SMEs will also get in-person help at SME Centres and a new SME Technology Hub that will be set up by the Info-communications Media Development Authority (IMDA). SMEs that are ready to pilot emerging ICT solutions can also receive advice and funding support. More than $80 million will be made available for these programmes.

With many SME Grants available in Singapore, there’s a need for SME Business Centres, qualified Grants consultants to advise SME companies management directly. Otherwise many companies are unaware or confuse which ones are the right fit, worried about the lengthy admin application process and requirement details, not to mention the long time-taken to apply and get the funding approval after months, or higher risks of application being rejected.

For more information and enquires, please contact us at –
NorthLight Consulting & Services Pte Ltd. (NLCS)
No. 89, Short Street, #09-03A,
Golden Wall Centre, Singapore 188216.